“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
As we discussed yesterday, there are often demonic forces that are influencing people and persuading them to act wrongly. If we want to see these spirits flee in terror, then we need to remember that we’re not fighting against “flesh and blood”. It’s a spiritual battle, and so we should deal with difficult people differently to the way the world deals with them. I’m not saying that you allow people to use and abuse you; I’m just saying that we respond in the opposite spirit (or attitude), like love instead of hatred or selfishness.
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
Luke 6:26 (NKJV)
Jesus’ life proved that you will not get along with everyone and you cannot be friends with everyone! But you can love everyone and be friendly with them. We shouldn’t be aiming to have everyone like us – this will leave us open to intimidation by the enemy, and then we’re not standing for anything. As soon as you have a conviction and stand for something, there is bound to be someone who will disagree with you and dislike you.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:18 (NKJV)
You do not have to be friends with everyone, and you’ll never be friends with everyone. When I first learnt this truth years back, it really set me free. The Bible says that we should “live peaceably with all men”, but it clarifies that with the statement “if it is possible, as much as depends on you”. This proves that you won’t get along perfectly with everyone – and that is okay. You cannot control other people’s actions, emotions or decisions, but you cancontrol your own. Make it your aim to live peaceably with everyone, and when someone makes decisions to be at odds with you, remember that it’s their decision. You may need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on (Matthew 10:14) – but just keep your heart right and love them anyway.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
Matthew 5:43-46 (NKJV)
Jesus’ instructions on how to deal with difficult people are counter-culture. I’ve heard many people try and explain them away because they don’t fit in with the world’s wisdom. The bottom line is that we should operate in the opposite spirit (or attitude) of those that come against us (and remember that people will come against you if you live for God, according to 2 Timothy 3:12). God doesn’t punish those that do evil by stopping the sun from rising over them or stopping rainfall, no – “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” In other words, He deals with us in grace (treating us better than we deserve). We should do the same.
Thought to focus on for the day:
You cannot be friends with everyone and you’ll never have everyone like you, but make it your aim to love others, pray for them and operate in the opposite spirit (or attitude). You cannot control other people’s actions, emotions or decisions, but you can control your own.
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